Road Safety Week: No Need to Speed

Author:
Simon Stanfield
Partner, Head of Road Traffic Accidents
Date:
16/11/2020

“No need to speed” is the theme of this years’ Road Safety Week, a national awareness drive by road safety charity Brake.

Research by Brake has found that just one in four people think vehicles travel at a safe speed on the street where they live. That’s a staggering figure, especially at a time when more of us are relying on daily walks for exercise or switching to travelling by bicycle to avoid trains, trams and buses.

Pedestrians and cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users out there, as they simply don’t have the same level of protection as someone driving in a car, van or other motor vehicle.

Our Road Traffic Accident Solicitors have seen evidence in many devastating cases resulting from speeding, which led to families being torn apart after loved ones were killed or seriously injured. So we’re very keen to back the main message of this year’s Road Safety Week.

The speed you drive at has a massive effect on both your safety and that of other people, whether they’re driving, cycling or travelling on foot. So it’s vital that drivers think about the possible consequences of breaking the speed limit, and understand how these can be avoided.

To support Brake and find out more visit the Road Safety Week website.

Could Technology Make a Difference?

Technology is one tool that could make a difference to people’s driving habits in the future. Speed limiters, for instance, are set to become mandatory in new cars from 2022.

While these won’t automatically apply the brakes if a vehicle breaks the speed limit, they’ll use technology such as GPS and sign recognition cameras to warn drivers that they’re going too fast, and reduce engine power to stop them going past a set limit.

But opinion on this development is split among UK drivers. A recent survey of car buyers commissioned by Autocar found that 49% support the introduction of speed limiters, with many saying they could improve road safety and lead to fewer people speeding.

But 24% said they are against the move, with some arguing they could cause more accidents than they prevent and that drivers are better at deciding what speed is suitable than technology. Many also felt that speed limiters were an intrusion into their personal liberty.

There is currently no hard evidence to show that introducing speed limiters will bring down the number of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads, but HM Government figures clearly show why something needs to be done.

On average, 76 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads every day in 2019, and the fatality rate among pedestrians and cyclists is more than 20 times that of somebody in a car.

As Brake correctly points out, just 1mph can “mean the difference between life and death on the roads”. So we hope Road Safety Week makes more people understand the role that speed can play in every road traffic accident, and realise that by keeping an eye on how fast we go, we can all play our part in bringing down the number of avoidable deaths and serious injuries.

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